Betting Tip: @ 40/1 with betvictor
14:50 Ryanair Steeple Chase, 2m5f
Last year’s 1-2-3: Uxixandre (16/1), Ma Filleule (5/1), Don Cossack (5/2) – 12 ran.
The late switch of dual festival winner Vautour has transformed this Grade 1, which had looked pretty open up until declaration time. Given his ability, it’s not out of the question that he could have won any of the big three chases at the meeting, but connections have opted for the ‘softer’ option and the seven-year-old is odds-on across the board with bookmakers. A hugely impressive winner of last season’s JLT over slightly shorter, this intermediate trip should suit him ideally and his second to Cue Card in the King George at Kempton(3m), where here looked certain to score two out, is certainly the best piece of form on offer and the return to a left-handed track is in his favour. Top price: 4/5 William Hill
Who else is fancied?
Road To Riches and Valseur Lido are next in the betting and have enough Grade 1-winning form between them to suggest they can take a hand. However, both are probably running here instead of the Gold Cup – which surely would have suited the former horse more as his best form is over 3m plus – were it not for the fact their owner sponsors this race and, having endured some near-misses, is intent on winning it. The latter horse also needs to brush up his jumping to make the most of his undoubted talents.
And the rest?
Connections of all the other horses will be cursing Ricci’s decision to switch Vauteur to this as their task has become considerably harder. It’s also a shame for my ante post bet Josses Hill, who can now be backed at 25/1 (on at 16s), though he’s not without hope if he can avoid the mistakes that have blighted his chase career. Still, he was much better in that department at Ascot last time and he has twice run very well at the festival, finishing runner-up to Vautour in the 2014 Supreme and third to Un De Sceaux in last year’s Arkle.
Al Ferof is a classy sort \as he showed when winning the 2011 Supreme and several times since over fences, including a Peterborough Chase win in November and a third to Cue Card in the King George. This is probably his best trip and he has each-way possibilities. You can say that about Taquin Du Seuil, who bounced back to winning ways at Warwick last time (albeit in a weak affair) and Henry de Bromhead’s improving Smashing, the winner of all three of his starts this season in lesser company. And it would be wrong not to give a mention to 2014 Ryanair winner Dynaste who ran a lot better following a wind operation and in first-time blinkers behind a rejuvenated Silviniaco Conti at Ascot last time.
Best bookie offer?
There are several free bet offers worthy of a mention, including Paddy Power and William Hill who are refunding losing stakes as a free bet (up to £25) if your horse finishes second. BetVictor are doing the same if your horses finishes second to a Willie Mullins-trained winner.
Trainer quote: “It looked as if Ruby[Walsh] was going to ride Djakadam in the Gold Cup so we decided to send Vautour to the Ryanair, which is a valuable Grade 1 prize, with Ruby riding him.” – Willie Mullins explaining the change of plan.
What’s the verdict?
If the Vautour runs to within a few pounds of his best form – no reason to think he shouldn’t – he is bar the most likely winner – I actually hope he gets stuffed given the total disregard for the public shown by his connections (sorry, had to get that off my chest). However, he’s very short (too short) and I’d rather have a stab at the ‘without’ market where DYNASTE could reward each-way support. He’s a past winner, ran respectably last time and could do even better on the drying ground, plus the stable had a winner here on Tuesday. He’s a big-looking 40/1 with Ladbrokes in the outright market but it makes more sense to take Vautour of the equation. Josses Hill, my ante post wager, is no forlorn hope in the same market at 9/1.
SELECTIONS: Dynaste ‘w/o Vautour’ each-way @ 20/1 bet365
Betting Tip: @ 40/1 with betvictor